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Farmers' preferences for water-saving strategies in Brazilian eucalypt plantations

Demarchi G., Subervie J., Palha Leite F., Laclau J.P.. 2021. Forest Policy and Economics, 128 : 12 p..

DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2021.102459

In a climate change context, changing temperature and precipitation patterns are expected to have strong impacts on Brazilian eucalypt plantations. Implementing adaptive water-efficient management practices is thus becoming necessary to maintain high levels of productivity while preserving the water resources. This paper investigates the ability of eucalypt farmers to modify their current silvicultural practices in order to adapt to drought in the near future. We ran a choice experiment in the state of Minas Gerais, among 80 eucalypt tree farmers, who were asked to choose from several management options associated with various financial supports. The results show that adaptation by reducing the length of the eucalypt rotation proves to be by far the preferred option, despite the associated costs. On the contrary, reducing density appears to be the least chosen option by the respondents, which may suggest that they underestimate the benefits of this strategy. We moreover find a clear and relevant segmentation of farmers' choice behavior, the general preference for reducing the length of the eucalypt rotation being driven by the most vulnerable farmers of the sample.

Mots-clés : conservation de l'eau; gestion des eaux; ressource en eau; adaptation aux changements climatiques; plantations; eucalyptus; participation des agriculteurs; enquête sur exploitations agricoles; rotation culturale; mode de culture; pratique culturale; brésil; minas gerais

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